Palm Sunday — March 25
Palm Sunday starts with a special verbena de jamaica del pasado, a kind of old-time community potluck in the plaza with pozole, sopes, tamales and other traditional Mexican foods. All are made at homes in the town and sold in the plaza from 4 p.m. onwards and all the proceeds go to the production of the Passion Play.
Civil weddings will also take place at the registro civil booth and kids will be competing for wooden toys from Tlaquepaque during games of the traditional Mexican lotería — basically bingo, but using images on cards instead of numbers.
The Palm Sunday procession, which portrays Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem a few days before the Last Supper, starts at 6:30 p.m. at Seís Esquinas (Six Corners) and proceeds east along Hidalgo Street for 0.5 miles until it reaches St. Andrew’s Church near the plaza.
An outdoor mass is held at 7 p.m. in the church atrium and at 9 p.m. the electricity is turned out in the plaza for 30 minutes, turning back the time to what it was like 100 years ago to live with only candlelight.
Then, everyone in the plaza throws eggs filled with confetti at each other.
Maundy Thursday — March 29
The Passion Play’s portrayal of the Last Supper takes place at Seis Esquinas at 8:20 p.m. A procession then goes east on Hidalgo, turns north on Aquiles Serdan, crosses the highway and then proceeds up Tempisque to the foot of the hills.
After the procession reaches the hills at the top of Tempisque, a group of Romans comes at 9 p.m. to apprehend Jesus and take him to the Sanhedrin Trial. The procession continues back down Tempisque, east on Emiliano Zapata and south on Colón to the plaza, where the trial takes place at 10 p.m.
Good Friday — March 30
On Good Friday, the Passion Play starts at 11 a.m. in the atrium in front of St. Andrew’s Church with the trial before Pontius Pilate.
Then the actor portraying Jesus carries his heavy wooden cross through the cobblestone streets and to “Golgotha” (the hills north of Ajijic at the top of Tempisque street), where the crucifixion scene takes place. Along the way, he is flogged and collapses to the ground under the weight of the cross.
Everyone then heads back to St. Andrew’s Church, representing the Procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is buried.
Holy Saturday — March 31
On Saturday, the portrayal of the resurrection of Christ and the Easter Vigil takes place in the atrium outside St. Andrew’s Church at 8 p.m.
Guess what? On Easter Sunday, nothing happens. Not even the Easter Bunny really visits. There is an Easter Sunday mass and people celebrate with friends and family, and in other ways, but the Passion Play is over.